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Iowa DNR to discuss deer diseases at Iowa City public meeting

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be in Iowa City on Nov. 14 to discuss issues related to deer diseases in an urban deer herd, the recent restrictions on wildlife rehabilitators accepting deer and hunter participation in the battle against chronic wasting disease (CWD).

The public meeting is scheduled from 6:30-8 p.m., at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, 4261 Oak Crest Hill Road SE, building C, in Iowa City.

“We want to start the dialog now on how we can work together if and when disease enters an urban deer herd,” said Terry Haindfield, wildlife biologist for the Iowa DNR, who is coordinating the meeting.

Haindfield said he will also update the effort to slow or contain the spread of chronic wasting disease and how the recent rules changes on taking deer to wildlife rehabbers is part of that approach.

CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases. It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.

The disease is spread by direct and indirect contact as the prions are shed in the bodily fluids of infected animals and can remain infective for years in the environment.

The Iowa DNR has tested nearly 69,000 deer tissue samples for CWD since monitoring began in 2002. The disease first appeared in Iowa’s wild deer herd in 2013. So far, there have been 28 positive tests: 25 in Allamakee County, 2 in Clayton County and 1 in Wayne County.

Any person attending the public meeting and has special requirements such as those related to mobility or hearing impairments should contact the DNR or ADA Coordinator at 515-725-8200, Relay Iowa TTY Service 800-735-7942, or Webmaster@dnr.iowa.gov, and advise of specific needs.

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